28 August 2020

5 Op Shops to visit in Canberra

| Nina Gbor
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Over the years I’ve built up a super stylish, diverse wardrobe of unique, one-of-a-kind pieces found partially in op shops. I started op shopping at age 15 when I discovered the wide range of styles and good quality treasures that exist in these preloved stores.

I moved to Canberra a few years ago and found Canberra op shops really hold their own when it comes to fashion. So, if you’re not yet into op shopping, here are a couple of additional reasons to get into it:

Social and environmental sustainability. In Australia, we throw 6000 kilos of clothes to landfill every 10 minutes! (ABC TV). Maintaining a circular economy by op shopping will help reduce the fashion waste epidemic.

Support for charitable causes. Most op shops are purposefully created to raise funds to support a cause within the community. Shopping with them helps their cause and creates jobs for the store managers and some staff.

In Canberra, I’ve come across five stores that stand out for very different reasons. At least one of these stores is likely to convert you to an op shopper if you haven’t tried it recently.

1.Designer Op Shop Emporium

This beautifully laid out store is a one-of-a-kind experience in Canberra. It’s easy access to designer and vintage preloved apparel, modern interiors, Emporium espresso, flowers, glass and homewares. If your taste is high end, then check out this store. They recently launched a new store in Fyshwick. Read about it here.

Location: 1, Lyell Street, Fyshwick.

2. Salvos Fyshwick

This branch of Salvos has a stylish range of stock from corporate to casual and everything in between. I’ve found some great quality pieces from here in the past. Check out some of the Salvos outfits here. They also have a huge furniture and homeware sections.

Location: 5 – 15 Mildura Street, Fyshwick.

3. Pandoras Preloved Fashion at O’Connor

Pandoras most resembles a traditional op shop but with a twist. They focus on stocking high end, designer and vintage pieces as often as possible. One of the things that makes Pandoras so unique is the warmth of the staff and the community of people made of customers, friends, neighbours and associates. Learn more about Pandoras here.

Location: Moorhouse and MacPherson Streets, O’Connor. (Open Fridays and Saturdays, 10 am – 1 pm).

4. Vinnies Dickson

The Dickson branch is one of my favourite Vinnies in the city. It’s bright, cheerful and has mixed stock with a lot of contemporary pieces. They have a small costume and vintage section, some bric-a-brac and homewares.

Location: 1/9 Wooley Street, Dickson.

*Vinnies at Cooleman Court, Weston Creek is also worth checking out.

5. The Green Shed

I often refer to The Green Shed as the Aladdin’s cave of op shop treasures. It’s great for people who love the hunt or who like rare and unique pieces. I love shopping here and each visit feels like a fun adventure. They have 2 stores in Civic. One stocks apparel such as contemporary clothes, vintage, pieces from international cultures and a relatively large menswear section. The other store stocks an amazing vintage furniture collection, musical instruments like old guitars, jewellery, homewares, vintage accessories and so much more.

Locations: The Green Shed Underground (Apparel) – Basement Level, 34 E Row, Civic (next to McDonald’s)

The Green Shed Shop – 148 – 180 City Walk, Civic

If you’re looking for more op shops in Canberra, check out our recently updated article on the best op shops in Canberra.

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Watching a guy at the Hyperdome second hand store opposite Coles, buying clothes for his new job really stuck with me.

Overhearing him, it really struck me how hard he’d been trying for work until finally getting a job and needing some work outfits.

That event was an important one and with a couple of other things I’d seen started my attempts to try and stand up for the working poor of Tuggeranong.

A group of Canberrans regularly ignored by ACT Labor in their pursuit of election wins.

I have recently discovered I can buy good jeans in them. I have also bought ceramics, etc. However, I am yet to find any tops I like in a secondhand shop. They either look past their best, or they are just not my taste. Jeans are more standard and only need to have the right length and width leg. The sort of tops I like, I would guess are worn out, or at least they don’t seem to make it to secondhand shops.

I like the Smith Family Store opposite Canberra College. High quality, much of it brand new with tags donated by the manufacturers.

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